Are you looking to buy used or salvaged cars within the United States?

Then an online auto auction site may be just what you need.

Car auction or auto auction websites are market places that connect buyers and sellers of automobiles. The sellers may be private sellers or automotive dealerships.

Although it is advisable that you buy from private sellers to get the cheapest bargain, but from dealers if you want a more structured sale process, and if you do not trust the private seller.

Car auction websites are littered with affordable used cars, waiting for you to pick them up, but you must know which websites to use and how to use them.

To ensure that you find what you are looking for and you are satisfied with the purchase afterward.

We will put you through some of the best car auction sites and how to use them to find the best deals that match your budget, needs, and wants.

#1 ONLINE CAR AUCTION

eBay Motors: eBay motors is a subsidiary of the world’s largest auction site, eBay, and it is a no brainer why it is number one on this list.

On eBay, you have access to a huge inventory and a lot of cars to choose from, both from private sellers and automotive dealers.

The large inventory on eBay can be easily navigated with their search engine.

You can filter your search by make, model, year, transmission type, color, price range, seller’s distance from you, etc.

Make use of the search filter to find the car that matches what you have in mind.

And if you have nothing specific in mind, eBay Motors has categories like Exotics, SUVs, Classics, Hybrids, Minivans, Sedans, Electrics.

You may look through the categories to help you make a better decision.

When you eventually find the car, you want to purchase on eBay, the next step is to check the seller’s legitimacy and trustworthiness.

To have an accurate idea of what it is like doing business with a seller – their feedback is the way to go.

Although every user on eBay has an overall feedback percentage, calculated from every feedback the user has received as a buyer and as a seller.

The user’s feedback as a seller is what you should be most interested in. eBay motors’ divides feedbacks into two categories – as a seller, and as a buyer – check to ensure the user has performed transactions as a seller.

Check the seller’s transaction history to see what they have sold in the past and what the experience of the buyers was like.

You are more likely to have a smooth experience with a seller that has gotten a good amount of feedback ratings from selling cars in the past than with a new seller.        

One of the most interesting perks of buying on eBay Motors is the Vehicle Buyer Protection, which covers certain losses associate with fraud.

This makes eBay the safest car auction platform. Buyers can receive up to $100,000 or the value of the vehicle if they are victims of fraud on eBay.

Note that the transaction has to go through the website to be covered by eBay’s buyer protection plan.

To purchase a car on eBay, most sellers demand a deposit upon winning an auction. The balance is to be paid within a set period.

This affords you time to inspect your purchase in person.

The main downside to using eBay motors is that there is no way to know shipping and transportation costs until after an auction is won if you didn’t purchase the vehicle locally.

#2 ONLINE CAR AUCTION

Auto Auction Mall: Auto auction mall is one of the largest databases for used and salvaged cars, it boasts of over 150,000 open vehicle listings.

Auto auction mall gives the general public access to dealer-only car auctions. Potentially helping you save thousands when you buy where the dealer buys.

There are two ways to search for vehicles on Auto Action Mall;

  1. Quick Search: to run a quick search, you just need to type in the keywords that best describe the vehicle you want, then you can make use of the filters to narrow down your search. This is the easiest way to search for vehicles on Auto Action Mall, but the results are not so precise.
  2. “Find Your Vehicle Now”: This type of search is more detailed than a quick search. You are required to choose the make, model, year range, and zip code of the car. Then search results are more precise.

Registration on Auto Auction Mall is free and simple, but you will be required to pay a fee of $299 whenever you win an auction.

The fee seems expensive but considering how much you save from the dealer-only auctions, it is worth it.

#3 ONLINE CAR AUCTION

Copart: Copart is one of the largest online car auction sites, operating in 11 countries with an inventory of over 200,000 vehicles.

Most of the cars on this website are salvaged, damaged vandalized, repossessed, or rebuilt cars; although you would also find clean title used vehicles.

Copart relies on banks, insurance companies, and financial institutions for most of its inventory.

The website also buys cars from the general public through Copart Direct.

The website interface is pretty straight forward. Just run a quick search with the search engine and narrow down your search with filters.

To participate in Copart auctions, you need to have a full dealers’ license. Copart charges a fixed transaction fee of $299, just like Auto Auction Mall.

Tips to win a car auction

  1. Factor in the transportation costs of the vehicle while placing your bid: Always remember that the price you pay for the car does not include transportation. Keep this in mind when placing your bids, so you do not end up paying too much.
  2. Make your bid a figure that reflects the market value of the vehicle: Do not start your bid too low. A common misconception many people have about auctions is that the best way to get a good deal is by starting low, but oftentimes, low prices lead to bidding wars that eventually inflate the price of the car.
  3. Timing: Your chances of winning a bid are much lower during proactive hours. Wait for auctions that take place late in the night or early in the morning, they are usually less competitive.
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